Pitstop

Eric Thompson is a motoring writer

Pitstop: Blast from past

By Eric Thompson

New Zealand racer Chris van der Drift. Photo / Diederik van der Laan
New Zealand racer Chris van der Drift. Photo / Diederik van der Laan

An array of historic cars, including a classic Ford Escort and a rotary-powered Mazda, offer rally fans a blast form the past at the Brother International Rally of Whangarei this weekend. These cars are outside the age and technology parameters of the top tier New Zealand and APRC classes but rest assured they'll be going at it hammer and tongs. All competitors use exactly the same rally route - 283.28 km of special stages around Whangarei and Kaipara.


Van der Drift rewarded

New Zealand racer Chris van der Drift has ben rewarded for his outstanding last minute drive for Manor MP Motorsports at the opening round in the Auto GP in Monza, Italy where he finished second. He gets another chance to strut his stuff again this weekend at round two of the series at Valencia, Spain. Van der Drift is developing a growing reputation as the go-to driver for teams who want instant success.

Race for Life

Hampton Down race track will host the annual Mercy Hospice Race for Life on Monday, April 2. Last year, at Pukekohe, the event attracted 50 patients, 25 drivers and over 100 volunteers who helped out during the day. It's a day where patients can choose a ride in a race car, a road car, on the back of a motorcycle or a helicopter ride.

Ducati work in progress

The noises coming out of the MotoGP Ducati camp via Valentino Rossi in the run-up to the opening round of the 2012 season starting in Qatar, April 7-8, are reminiscent of the other Italian race manufacturer Ferrari. Fans have been warned not to expect great things, as the bike is not where it should be and the bike will be a work in progress during the opening stanzas of the season.

Checa wants consistency

Defending World Superbike champion Carlos Checa has put the highs and lows of round one in Australia behind him this weekend. The Ducati rider is looking forward to Imola, Italy and wants a more consistent weekend of racing. At the opening round he crashed in the first race and redeemed himself in race two by holding of Max Biaggi to win race two.

Under the hood

IndyCar racing has seen its fair share of Formula One converts over the years and 2012 is no different. Rubens Barrichello is the latest to try his hand at this most American of single seater racing and joins the likes of Nigel Mansell, Alex Zanardi, Mario Andretti, Eddie Cheever and Michele Alboreto in switching codes. The best though, would have to be Emerson Fittipaldi. He won two world F1 titles in 1972 and 1974 and finished second on two other occasions. After a four year sabbatical he tried his hand at Champ Car winning 22 races and a championship. He became a legend when he also added the Indianapolis 500 to his resume in 1989 and 1993.

- NZ Herald

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